Hints for Wildfire Season

The subject of wildfire itself can cause a great deal of anxiety and make us want to turn or click to something else entirely…And in doing so we only make our lives more complicated when an emergency arises. Take a deep breath, hang in there with us and read on. It will be helpful 🌻

 

Taking some very basic steps to take care of your self, your family, (and your property) by preparing an Emergency Go -bag for every single person and pet, will, when an emergency arises, make things easier for all of you. Emergencies have the capacity to be traumatizing, but the more information we have, and the more we prepare, the easier it is to survive and recover. See you some of the very basic things you can do for yourself and your family to take care and prepare. This list is more for personal items and self-care and then it is for house care.

 

Helpful hints for Wildfire season:

 

1. Due to the unpredictability of wildfire, fill up your tank of gas to at least half full before you bring it home. In an emergency evacuation scenario with our very limited exit access in the valley, we are all likely to be sitting in traffic for quite a long time and the last thing you want to do is run out of gas.

2. N95 or KN95 masks have become very well known because of Covid, but what many people may not know is that N95 and KN95 mask’s are crucial for protecting your respiratory system/lungs from the particulates and toxins in smoke. N95 and KN95 masks can be found now on Amazon and other sites. The main difference between N95 and KN95 is the country where they came from. They are both reliable and are essential to protect your lungs. Bandannas and basic surgical masks will not protect your lungs and respiratory system from the toxic particles found in smoke.

3. Purchase goggles that completely encompass/Seal around your eyes. Glasses and sunglasses will not protect your eyes in an ember storm. 

4. Have at least one complete outfit that is made of NATURAL fiber: Cotton, Flax, Hemp, Jute, Ramie, Sisal, Alpaca, Angora, Camel, Cashmere, Mohair, Silk, and Wool. 

 

WHY? 

 

1.  Cotton, silk, and other natural fibers are essential when being outside in an ember storm in order to evacuate or to put out spot-fires on your property if you are unable (or unwilling) to evacuate. When synthetic materials like Polyester, acrylic, spandex or any other synthetic material catch fire on your body, they will melt to your skin. In an ember storm that is not unlikely occurrence. So wearing natural fabric is a matter of protecting your body from complicated burns. Also, find a natural fiber hat, not straw or maize, but cotton or in the wool family - and tuck all of your hair up into the hat.

2.   Have at least a gallon of water in your car per person, (do not forget your pets) and have a plastic bowl with a Ziploc bag of food, an extra leash and collar in your car for each pet. Don’t forget a bag of food for yourself: nuts, protein bars, canned food & can opener.

3. New studies on the psychological trauma of wildfires indicate that taking 2 sentimental items with you when you evacuate is important in the process of grieving and recovery. Know what those two things are and make sure they are in a place that is easily accessible, particularly when there are active fires in the area, or we are in the thick of wildfire season. Don’t wait. Plan now.

 

Other considerations:

 

  • Does your bank offer safety deposit boxes? See if yours does because they are a VERY inexpensive way of having a safe place for your important papers, sentimental items, jewelry, pictures, extra medication, an extra cell phone (with updated contact list) a phone charger, and a credit card you rarely use. The larger the box the more you can put in there. Consider Will’s, titles, deeds, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, passports, Insurance information, you may even consider putting a copy of each of your utility and credit card bills so you have the account numbers.

 

  • Photograph or video record on your phone the items inside and outside your house. Open every cabinet every closet every storage unit, and video or photograph everything in the house. When it comes to being reimbursed for insurance, people with photographic or video evidence are more likely to receive higher reimbursement rates, anywhere between $40- $100,000k on average difference. Do not forget the items on the outside of your house as well, including patio furniture, barbecue grills and your landscaping, and any automobile you have to leave behind.

 

For more information on the psychological impact of wildfires, please click here: 

 

https://roblesfirewise.wixsite.com/firewiserdelrio-1/impact-the-pychology-of-wildfires

 

For other information or resources on how to prepare for a wildfire, please click here:

 

www.roblesfirewise.com

 

Or go to:

 

https://www.firesafemarin.org

 

(they have an amazing website which we aspire to emulate, but they’ve been around for a couple of decades so we have some catching up to do 😊)

 

For up to the minute air quality ratings, this site is the best I have found. When it comes to smoke you are looking for the PM2.5 particulate rating, so make sure if there’s a pulldown menu you’re looking at the right particulate matter. The Monterey County Air Resources Board and the EPA site run their numbers on a 24 hour average (And source their information from the same place). Purple Air does “up to the minute” averages based on the monitors within the community. We have a sensor from a different company and we are able to compare and contrast, and purple air is more accurate in our experience.

 

https://www.purpleair.com/map?opt=1/i/mAQI/a10/cC0#6.77/35.771/-121.983/0/3